A stimulating departure for the guitarist, who is on the late David Bowie’s album Blackstar, and whose playing credits over three decades span work with Jack McDuff, Marc Johnson, Lee Konitz, Maria Schneider, George Garzone and Paul Motian. 

Ex-Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett American quartet drummer Paul Motian (1937-2011) is featured with Monder on the album. Initially conceived, according to an ECM listing on the US version of Amazon, before Motian’s death, as a series of duos, the Monder/Motian portion of the album was recorded in 2010 (the rest of the album following in 2013).

Monder had been a member of Motian’s Garden of Eden band recording for ECM in 2004 a septet that featured three guitarists all told also including Jakob Bro who also made his label debut as leader this past year. More duos on Amorphae are included featuring free-jazz legend Andrew Cyrille while for the trio tracks synthesizer player Pete Rende joins. 

The guitarist has his own bands in the States and appears in duo with singer Theo Bleckmann as well as having surfaced on a substantial number of records as a sideman. His most recent album as a leader, Hydra, was released two years ago on the Sunnyside label. Monder plays electric guitar and electric baritone guitar on the album. The music played is mostly Monder’s, with the exception of Oklahoma song ‘Oh, What a Beautiful Morning.’.

It's achingly beautiful music, long flowing Frippian lines emerging from the murk of headlights through rain, the drone of an exhaust bleeding loud figuratively speaking and broadening, funnelling out, like the sound a truck might make blaring through the liquidy hue of the blackest of nights, the air a wispy presence swirling around. Rende’s expressive synth washes are a foil for Monder. Cyrille and Motian in the sequencing and concatenation of their styles match, a oneness, as earth faces the sky. SG. Photo: ECM